Intro to Decision Skills Online Course

Free, Self-Paced, Ages 13+

Make Better Decisions

Why settle for less when you can learn how to get more of what you want by making better decisions? Practice working through the Decision Skills framework.

Course Type:

  • Online only and self-paced

Estimated Time:

  • 5 - 6 hours


  • There is no charge to take the course, but we appreciate your $25 donation (or an amount of your choice), so we can continue to provide education materials and programs.

Target Audience:

  • Age 13+
  • Individuals wanting professional development
  • Families making decisions together
  • Educators wanting to teach decision skills to their students (contact us for course customization, additional materials, and other learning opportunities)


Good decision-making is an essential life skill most people acquire through trial and error. Few have had the benefit of formal training in decision making or are aware of Decision Science. Decision Skills utilize the tools of Decision Science to help us make better decisions. The principles and practice of Decision Quality have been successfully applied in business, medicine, finance, engineering, and beyond.

Through our work with teachers, schools, and students, we have witnessed the tremendous value Decision Skills bring in helping individuals and groups resolve their toughest dilemmas.

DEF’s approach to decision making enables us to judge the quality of a decision as it is being made. We can apply the ideas and methods presented here as a checklist for simple decisions or as a systematic process for difficult decisions.

The Decision Quality framework we use to organize our material evolved from work in Stanford’s Management Science and Engineering department, and it applies an engineering frame to the process of decision making. In the sound reasoning and useful information decision skill domains, Decision Analysis applies mathematical principles to decision situations to achieve optimal solutions, including understanding uncertainty by using probability. Decision Science includes the psychological study of where humans depart from rationality.

The Decision Chain

Course Outcomes:

  • Decision Skills that bring you clarity and get you more of what you want.
  • Improved self-awareness which helps self-advocacy.
  • Reduced anxiety when facing difficult decisions.
  • A greater probability of successfully following through on decisions.  

Course Objectives:

  • Get creative while imagining solutions to a challenging situation.
  • Name the six links of the Decision Chain.
  • Recognize the weakest link of the Decision Chain in a given decision scenario.
  • Define eight of the common Decision Traps (cognitive biases).
  • Identify common decision opportunities in which you or others may experience Decision Traps.
  • State the components of a decision frame that can help clarify the decision being made.
  • Become proficient at using the HIP check tool.  
  • Identify the values most important to you.
  • Identify important aspects of your personality type.
  • Articulate how trading off one value for another is a part of making decisions.
  • Give examples of creative alternative solutions.
  • Gather information and extrapolate the relative success probabilities of various alternative solutions to a problem.
  • Create a weight & rate table to analyze various alternative solutions to a problem.
  • Create a decision tree to analyze various alternative solutions to a problem.
  • Recognize when you are ready to act on a decision.
  • Create a SMART goal.
  • Describe how to improve the dynamics of a team working on a project.
  • Understand how, with different ways of seeing the world (Frame) and different preferences (Values), individuals will reach different conclusions and make different decisions.